The weather Gods promised us a perfect biking day; clear sunny skies with very little wind and they weren't wrong, the massive wind generators outside of Hopefield were all standing dead still in the fog patches as we rode through, but I'm jumping the gun a bit here.
We arrived at the Engen One-Stop just before 08h30 and there were already quite a few bikers there, I refuelled while Janet went in to buy a famous Wimpy coffee and a hot chocolate.
It was being ridden by one of the guys who was thinking of buying it, he was test riding it first.
While we stood around chatting and drinking our beverages the other riders arrived, eventually thirteen bikes with twenty people roared out of the garage parking area and headed off towards Malmesbury.
We rode through several isolated fog patches where the temperature dipped down into the low teens, especially in the river crossings. It was a lovely calm day and it wasn't long before the sun started warming us, I was using my heated grips as I hadn't used my full gloves so my fingers lost feeling every now and then and even though I don't feel the cold like mere mortals do, I needed a bit of help.
Div maintained a steady pace in front, pulling us along at around 140kmh until we neared the sweeping bends approaching the N7, then the front guys opened up and I had to increase my speed to 170kmh just to try and keep up. We had previously agreed to gather at the service station in Malmesbury for a smoke break and a leg stretch so everyone knew where we were going.
From there it was a very pleasant ride through the wine farming area, down past Riebeek and through to Hermon, we hung a left onto the R44 for the 17km stretch through to the "Nuwekloof Pass". This is normally a very busy road with lots of heavy vehicles making a big loop to avoid the toll tunnel near Paarl but thankfully on a Sunday it is much quieter. We were able to maintain a fast pace, sweeping past the few vehicles that were plodding along.
Through the Pass and then the left towards the quaint little town of Tulbagh, the scene of a rather violent earthquake many years ago, I briefly hoped that there wasn't another one due as we lined our machines up outside the "Kuierbossie restaurant" in the main road.
They had organised tables and benches for us on the sunny verandah and we were all soon happily relaxed with our drinks, here Mike and Barbara are chatting with Heinie and Gerda.
Floors enjoying his rum and coke while we waited for our food.
Actually it turned out to be quite a long wait, more like a lunch than a breakfast but the staff and the owner were very pleasant and attentive. I'm sure it's difficult catering for a large group and trying to make sure that everything is ready at the same time. No problem it was good sitting out in the sun enjoying the banter and the beer. I was very hungry by the time the food arrived but it was worth the wait,
I had Waterblommetjie Bredie with rice and pumpkin fritters, the meat was Springbok and there was plenty of it too, a delicious meal which I really enjoyed especially since I haven't had Waterblommetjie since the days when we were involved in the Seafood braai restaurant business about 1000 years ago.
Everyone seemed happy with their meals and it didn't matter that it was lunchtime, the camaraderie was especially enjoyable and the time sped by, soon it was time to head back. People made their own plans for the return journey, some going back the way we had come, some of us opting to go back via Mooreesburg and stop for a beer at the wooden deck
We were on our own all the way through to Mooreesburg, just cruising along through the now nicely warm afternoon sun enjoying the solitude and the smooth purring of the big red machine. Between Riebeek and Mooreesburg I felt Janet sleeping on the back as her helmet occasionally tapped into the back of mine.
The wooden deck restaurant was closed! How can they close on a Sunday? There's lots of passing bikers looking for a drink, we pressed on, cruising at a steady 80 to 90kmh along the short bumpy and potholed stretch to the R45, here five of the guys caught up and passed us heading for the Hopefield hotel for a beer. Disappointingly that was also closed, dilapidated and dreary it looked like it had been closed for a long time.
Now the guys were getting agitated and they set off at speed, I had trouble keeping up and we made seriously good time, low flying towards Vredenberg where we eventually found the bikes parked outside "Juffroshoogte".
Soon most of the group came in, we stayed long enough for an Absolute Bloody Final and then called it a day, we said our goodbyes and headed home. It had been a great day out on the bike, most enjoyably spent with a great bunch of people and I'm glad we have joined the club.
Like bikers everywhere the Meeulanders are community minded, coming up on 27th September is the annual tin run where members stand outside the local supermarkets in Vredenburg, Saldanha and Langebaan to collect food products for needy people, and also on the cards is a dog food collection for someone they met recently who is struggling to maintain an animal shelter nearby. Good people, bikers.